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The search for a practical skirt

 
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Are the yardage requirements on a pattern the amount I buy in the shop, or for after shrinkage?
 
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Before shrinkage.
 
r ranson
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I bought this skirt from Samurai Pants on etsy.  I bought some pants from them about five years ago and they are my favourite summer pants.  I wear them in town and on the farm and they are made from durable cotton and there's a good human story behind the brand too.  I love their stuff so I splurged and bought a second pair of pants and two skirts.



The amount of cloth is generous which gives me the freedom of movement I need and it feels both warm and cool at the same time.  

It's one size fits most and I'm on the upper end of 'most' these days.  The problem is, my tummy is tender due to Crohn's so I'm not liking the tight elastic band on this skirt.  But the skirt is about an inch longer than I want so I am planning to hem it.  But I also want to change the top.  Instead of the thin elastic clenching my gut, I could make a wide band on top?  Only... how?  

the top band from this skirt is very comfortable

 
r ranson
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Here's a closeup of the top of the skirt
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You could take your inch off by redoing the top.  It may be that it is uncomfortable for 2 reasons, it is narrow elastic and also you say you are in the upper range of how big it will fit so the elelastic is stretched a lot and then off course applies more force back onto your stomach.  

You will cut off the existing top and then... A lot of choices but you do not sew much ?  If not is there someone you can hire or trade?  Cotton jersey ( tee shirt fabric)  makes a soft waist band, it does not stretch as much as elastic but does stretch to take on and off,  the ones I have seen like this it is double layer and 3 or 4 inches wide.  Or you can buy a piece of wide elastic as width means more comfortable and you will use a longer piece than is in the skirt now. You will fold over the top making a new casing and then thread the new wider and looser elastic in
 
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Debi beat me to it. Cut off your existing waistband, fold it over, add a piece of 3/4 inch or 1 inch wide no roll elastic, it won't look smooth when you buy it, will look like it has kind of a structure to the weave like this, it won't roll up into a mess:

Put the elastic into your rolled over top, and your waist and length are now both fixed! :D

As far as yardage, theoretically the pattern amount allows for shrinkage, in actuality, if you are going for a high shrinkage 100% cotton, I'd add 1/8 of a yard just for extra to shrink.
 
r ranson
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I took the elastic out and there is lots of fabric.  That's one of the things that attracts me to this brand is that they always have a generous hem and seam allowance.  

The elastic is over an inch thick, so I think maybe I'll put it back in the back and use the ties for the front third.  what do you think?  

I won't have access to my sewing machine until the weekend, so I have lots of time to plan.  
 
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Big bales of castoffs from places like Value Village and the Salvation Army are sold at second-hand shops in the Philippines. Sometimes they send extra large men's t-shirts. These tend to be in oversupply because most of the people aren't big enough for them.

Nova buys these shirts for 20 pesos which is about $0.40 American and she turns them into utility skirts or dresses. Not something she'd wear to a nice restaurant, but perfectly good for house cleaning or to put on after swimming if the temperature dips below 80 and she gets cold.

Some get a slit cut in them and some get a belt. Shorts are worn beneath. One has the arms cut off completely except for a remnant that is used for tying. Used as a cooking apron. Most of them are used to cover nicer clothing underneath or as an additional layer when it gets cool in the evening.
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Sue Reeves
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r ranson wrote:I took the elastic out and there is lots of fabric.  That's one of the things that attracts me to this brand is that they always have a generous hem and seam allowance.  

The elastic is over an inch thick, so I think maybe I'll put it back in the back and use the ties for the front third.  what do you think?  

I won't have access to my sewing machine until the weekend, so I have lots of time to plan.  



Elastic in back and draw string in front is a common way to do it, so a good idea.  It would look nice. As long as drawstrings are comfortable for you on your body. Certainly you will have good control on making it looser or tighter
 
r ranson
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I don't know if drawstrings are comfortable per se, but my biggest challenge is my gut can grow or shrink by over four inches during the day for various reasons.  It's nice to be able to adjust during the day.  It's something I know how to do, so I guess I'll go that path unless there's a better option.  It's just I hate having a bow in front like that.  

The most comfortable waist I've found so far is this one with the wide, solid fabric on the front and the elastic back.  But probably too complicated for me and I don't have any stiff fabric like that.

 
Joylynn Hardesty
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It's just I hate having a bow in front like that.



If it's the looks of the bow that you don't like, you can make it so the strings/ties comes out toward your body, and the bow is tied so it is inside the waistband, not showing. The ties can't be real thick though. That just makes a person look deformed.
 
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I’m so glad this thread exists, as this is just the sort of help I need right now!

I’m a student gardener and for the last 3 and a half years my cargo pants have served me well. They’re made out of a thick sturdy denim, they have lots of big pockets, and they’re camo which camouflages the mud stains a bit. BUT I’ve had to mend the crotch at least three times and I’m tired of having to mend and re-mend that when I have other things that need mending. Also, they make it difficult to take the stairs two at a time, because they’re guy pants and they never quite fit properly.

I’m solving both issues by converting my pants into a skirt obviously. I got some green denim scrap cloth I’m going to sew to the pant legs.



As you can see (assuming I've attached this image right...) I’ve already cut open the inseam, so now I’m committed! The faster I sew, the less likely I am to permanently stain my other cargos lol

Thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this thread! Walking skirt and utility kilt were very helpful suggestions for looking up inspiration, and the flat front panel advice was brilliant, that never occurred to me at all.
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Juniper Lunde
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Alright I got about a month’s use out of my skirt before COVID-19 shut down the gardens, and I'm quite pleased with my new work garment! Like people  discussed earlier in the thread, I went for a flat front panel, while in the back I made a pleated design inspired by kilts, walking skirts, and limited yardage. It’s definitely a lot more comfortable to walk and climb around in, and it accommodates my adding and subtracting of layers. It does drag at my legs a little on very windy days, but nothing too bad, and it doesn’t get too windy often where I am anyways. It took me about a week to stitch, sewing running back stitches by hand in my free time. One night some other students were watching Avatar in the common room while I sewed, and I liked the design of the Fire Sages robes, so I made the front panel end in a triangular point instead of a flat edge flush with the pant hems. I think that helps a little with mobility/not stepping on my skirt.

I made a couple of mistakes I still need to fix. I think I should raise the hem so that the skirt is slightly shorter then my pants were, so that it doesn’t drag on the ground so often. I also made a super beginner mistake by folding the raw edges so that they were out of sight, but still very much exposed and raw on the inside. Experiences sewers will predict what happened to those edges after a couple washes and month of hard use: the edges started to unravel and I found my feet getting tangled in threads. Whoops.

I’ve worn it both around the gardens and around campus and, unexpectedly, I’ve gotten a ton of compliments, both by people who wanted to know if I’d made it and by people who seemed to have no clue. One volunteer at the garden even told me that turning pants into skirts had been trendy when she was in high school. Who knew?

(I've tried to attach some pictures. Hopefully they show up.)
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r ranson
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simple skirt tutorial with pockets
 
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My current favorite everyday skirt.

It's a simple wrap skirt made of Latvian linen (bought in actual Latvia on a trip).

French seams inside, so I can actually wear it inside out if it's stained. Or I can swap which panel is in front (since it's mostly the front that gets spilled on). Which makes for four wears before it really needs to be cleaned. And yes, I've been wearing it every other day all summer so far.

It's insanely comfy even in very hot weather, getting softer with every wash,  can accommodate bloating, and the natural ecru hides dust very well (dirt brushes right off).

CollageMaker_20200805_224144718.jpg
My current favorite gardening skirt
My current favorite gardening skirt
 
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Years later...A-line styles often have the center front seam cut on an angle to avoid as many darting issues as possible. I would suggest a straight panel, on the lengthwise grain as that is the most stable, with side panels slightly gathered to a contoured waistband as that also helps with shaping and allows use of that stable straight grain. NB: many of the dtopcloyhs svailable now have a lot of synthetic in them, but fot those instances where that is allowable, they are sturdy. Pockets...check out the vonstruction on bellows pockets on military uniforms.  They are sort of like a shopping tote writ small, constructed separately as a backless tote with maybe a pleat in the front for expansion, then top stitched on around the back. You need a sturdy, tightly woven fabric to carry the weight of your implements.

Another idea...old jeans that fit your waist and hips, chop 'em off below the zipper and hem as you like, then use the lower legs ( usually not as worn as knees and thighs) to add free hanging cargo pockets on the sides and front. Wear this over your skirt of choice as a variant on a carpenter's tool belt. This would also address the skirt front flaring into places it shouldn't!

Regarding the beautiful dress with the torn lace, what a shame! Remember, medirvslly, mist of what people see is what the NOBILITY wore...i.e. not workers! Peasant women had shorter hems, maybe to the ankle bone ? And, if you ever read a bodice ripper romance and wondered what it means to kirtle or kilt up a skirt, you either lift up the hem in front and tuck into your waistband/belt, or you grab the front somewhere between the knees and hips and do the same. Temporary shorter hems for working where it's wet or on hillsides.
 
r ranson
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Here's a pattern for a lovely looking skirt.



this is where we can download the pattern at a pay-as-you-can basis.

pdf https://ko-fi.com/s/fcf79dc42e
gridded pattern https://ko-fi.com/s/40aa1a5297
 
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Raven, from your description, you are looking for versatility, comfort and flexible living.
A couple of things appear to shake out from the posts.  You said about you ugly knees - I must disagree!!  They work and allow you to do much.  I have a neighbour whose knees are shot and cause him serious pain as well as being scarred.  We each have our dislikes about ourselves until we see someone else who is disfigured more then we.......  I am what I am and so be it.  It is not what you are that I embrace, it is what you bring to the table.  I am grateful for your wealth of experience and that you share it with us.

The other thing was what to wear to town - If someone has an issue with what I wear, it is their issue, not mine.  I wear what I am comfortable with. We are too concerned about what people think about us, where as in reality they hardly ever notice.  Most people are self centered.

So to the clothing.  The nurses at one place I worked wore aprons over their uniforms so if they got dirty, it was a matter of changing the apron.  The Amish women have a similar style, with aprons.  The comfortable cotton or light wool skirt and a calico apron may be your solution
Happy sewing :-)
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r ranson wrote:Toying with so many different places to put this.  In the end, I decided on Frugality because that's my main motivation in this quest.

I like wearing skirts.  They are comfortable, functional and fun.  Given my druthers, and the right skirt, I would rather wear a skirt for farm work than jeans.  Year round.  No matter the weather.  No matter the task.  Birthing a lamb or planting seeds, even wrestling my 500+pound feral rescue llama is better done in a skirt.  

Finding the right skirt, however, has always been the problem.  Not every skirt is suited to wrangling geese.  On top of that, most modern clothing processing has social and environmental issues.  When I do find a skirt that seems okay, it usually wears out in a month.  The quality of the sewing or fabric is just not good enough.  Then there is the fact that I'm piss poor on a finite income that wouldn't cover groceries if I didn't grow half my food.  So I thought, why not make my own skirt?

Four over 6 years now, I've spent hours scouring sewing patterns, but can find nothing appropriate.  In a decade, I've only found two skirts that are practical for around the farm and look decent enough to wear into town.  However, they are both too short.  Maybe I can design my own skirt?  

Anyone want to help?
My sewing skills include: following directions, making darts, sewing buttons and buttonholes, straight stitch on my machine, and enclosed seams.  It's an old treadle machine, so no zigzag.  I have limited success designing my own pattern.  Mostly failure.  But how hard can a skirt be?

My ideal skirt pattern is...

  • between calf and ankle length
  • is adjustable for different seasons and cloth (linen and wool mostly)
  • is made with woven fabric
  • has optional pockets
  • looks good enough to wear into town - aka a style not to weird by modern standards
  • has enough space that I can run or dig or whatever needs doing on the farm
  • has a flat panel on the front - to stop it draping into the fire
  • can have a button or elastic waste, but mostly button
  • has the option of including a lining, especially for wool skirts in winter
  • not a wrap around - they don't hold together with the kind of farming I do
  • can be made cheaply using whatever fabric is on hand
  • is durable - which I suspect has more to do with materials and construction techniques
  • Must cover my knees because I think they are ugly, even if they aren't I just don't like other people seeing them


  • So what do you think?  Does my perfect practical skirt already exist or am I going to have to design my own?


    My next step is to take my favourite skirt and lay it down on a scrap of paper and trace a pattern.  Then I'll make a mock up and get the size right.



    Hi there. I know this is an old post, but thought I would add my 2 cents...
    1. You could start recycling a different skirt, or one you may find 2nd hand or free. Narrow the width, change the waistband to elastic, hem it up etc. I do this all the time. I see something I like, the fabric, or the print or whatever, and I adjust it to what I like if possible.

    2. Upcycle a pair of jeans. Yes, you can make a nifty skirt of of denim pants. I love denim. It is sturdy and wears well. Find a pair of denim pants that fit you well along the waist and hips. To make pants into a skirt, you seam rip the inner leg seams apart all the way up to the crotch of the pants. Or you can just cut the inner seams off with the scissors. You then add a triangle shaped patch in that area, both front and back. This can be denim of similar kind, or even another fabric to make a funky fun skirt. You can even add more pockets, which I think you can never have too many of.

    I hope this helps. I am pretty experienced with up cycling clothes and making-do.
     
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